Rev up your verbs for power

Verbs drive powerful writing. Not adjectives, not adverbs, not description – verbs.Verbs 3

But not just any ol’ verbs. Banish “to be” and “to have” in all their forms. They’re sleepy and lifeless. That’s why, in grade school, they were called “helping” verbs; they don’t do stuff on their own.

Instead, choose verbs encompassing some type of action, even if it’s breathing. See the difference. Feel the power. Now practice it!

Here are a couple of practice sessions to try. They’re great to do when you’re procrastinating over writing.

Practice 1/using verbs to eliminate adjectives: Change these adjectives into verbs, making it easier for your reader to see exactly what you mean.

  • Bashful boy
  • Stormy sky
  • Exciting city
  • Overworked mom
  • Happy baby

Examples:

Verbs 1

Practice 2/verb-driven paragraphs: Write a paragraph about your last meal. Use no adjectives or adverbs in it; let the verbs do the work.

Example:

Verbs 2

Once you build the power-verb habit, you’ll notice an uptick in compliments about your writing. The reader may not recognize why she likes it, but you’ll know the secret. (And you won’t have to stand on your head to see it!)

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